Smell no evil

The other day I was called over to help some people in the permit center. The two men were talking with the lovely zoning person, who went off to research something for them while I answered their wetland questions.

The second she leaves, one of the men says, “Do you have any cats?” I know. I wish I were making this up. It’s not like they read this blog, I am certain of that. I have my three readers, and I know who you are. (Hi Todd.) I got all awkward, and was, “um, no, I don’t have cats.”

The one guy says, “really, you don’t have cats?” acting surprised. “Well, anyway, you have to see this.” He makes his phone ring, and shows me the picture. It’s a cartoonish photo of a cat laughing, and the ring is a deep belly laugh, and the caption is, “What your cat is thinking when you take your clothes off.” The laughter is pretty robust and contagious, and the other guy is seriously unable to contain himself, he’s laughing so hard. I’m kind of laughing too, because, well, I just was. I wasn’t sure if they were thinking that MY cat, if I had one, would be laughing at ME that way, or exactly what the joke was. I guess what I’m saying here is I wasn’t sure if I was laughing at me, or with me, but I joined in just the same.

At about this point, the zoning person returns, and she just gives me this look, like, wow, I am gone for 2 minutes and and it deteriorates to something strange. They show her the ring tone, and she just shakes her head and looks at me, and gives them information in a most helpful fashion, and no one seems to suspect that she has cats.

I need to run upstairs to ask my boss something, and as I am walking out of the room, I hear a man talking loudly on his cell phone: “I’m being regulated, and I’m mad as hell about it. I’m taking this to the top. Obama, if I have to.” I'm already in kind of a laugh-y frame of mind so I try to think of something really sad when I walk by him because I don't want to laugh and provoke him, even though it is hilarious to imagine Obama getting involved in our tiny landuse decisions.   So I think about the smell in my cubicle, which works, I stop laughing immediately.  Then I have a second thought and I walk back to the receptionist to see if he’s been helped, because I’m pretty sure making him wait won’t make things  better. She says she asked what he needed, but he just said he’s got a meeting and wouldn’t give her any more information.

I run up to my boss to ask my question, and he says make it quick because he has a meeting with an applicant shortly.   I say, “oh, yes, he’s here, and just fyi, he’s mad as hell and is taking it to Obama if he has to.” He gives me that look as if I’m just messing with him, and I leave and go back to my windowless cubicle.

My cube neighbor and I discuss moving to new side by side cubicles due to the really bad smell that’s been mentioned earlier. It’s kind of weird, we’re like free range chickens who, when you open the cage, are a little afraid to go out. We can’t bear the smell, and yet, we don’t really want to move, but I think we’re both sort of thinking that if we move together, it will be easier. I know. Maybe it’s some form of Stockholm Syndrome.

I’m sitting there when my boss comes back from his meeting and sits down in my office. “Hey, how’d you know that about the guy taking it to Obama if he has to?” I don’t like to tell him how easy it is to know stuff, because I want to seem like a useful and intelligent employee.  Luckily, before I have a chance to answer, he is overcome by the fumes. “Oh god, that smell is really bad.”

“I know. You know how we’ve been bringing it up for a while? Like, remember last week when B. and I came in to complain and you did that deflect thing like you do?”

“Uh, what did I say exactly?”

B. pops over at this point and says, “I think you asked Betsy to research whether cat piss is a legit product used for curing leather.”

Alas, I’m out of time this morning, but there will be more to this story. I need to frost the cupcakes, because today is both the boiling point of water, Gandi’s birthday, and the birthday of the lovely R.
To be continued... here


  1. I was just smiling quietly until I got to the bit about cat piss being used to cure leather. I think I let out an audible snort/laugh at that point.

  2. Thanks for reading, PC. I'm glad for the audible snort.

  3. I'm reading too! :) Happy Bday, G and R!

  4. You have more than three readers, Betsy. Maybe not WAAY more...

  5. but at least one more since yesterday . . .


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